6.8/10
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53 user 166 critic

Howl (2010)

Trailer
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As Allen Ginsberg talks about his life and art, his most famous poem is illustrated in animation while the obscenity trial of the work is dramatized.

Writers:

Rob Epstein (written for the screen by), Jeffrey Friedman (written for the screen by) | 1 more credit »
2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Franco ... Allen Ginsberg
Todd Rotondi Todd Rotondi ... Jack Kerouac
Jon Prescott ... Neal Cassady
Aaron Tveit ... Peter Orlovsky
David Strathairn ... Ralph McIntosh
Jon Hamm ... Jake Ehrlich
Andrew Rogers ... Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Bob Balaban ... Judge Clayton Horn
Mary-Louise Parker ... Gail Potter
Heather Klar Heather Klar ... Jack's Girlfriend
Kaydence Frank Kaydence Frank ... Allen's Girlfriend (as Kadance Frank)
Treat Williams ... Mark Schorer
Joe Toronto ... Sailor
Johary Ramos ... Hustler
Nancy Spence Nancy Spence ... Neal's Girlfriend
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Storyline

It's San Francisco in 1957, and an American masterpiece is put on trial. Howl, the film, recounts this dark moment using three interwoven threads: the tumultuous life events that led a young Allen Ginsberg to find his true voice as an artist, society's reaction (the obscenity trial), and animation that echoes the poem's surreal style. All three coalesce in hybrid that dramatizes the birth of a counterculture. Written by Sundance Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Obscenity Trial That Started a Revolution. The Poem That Rocked a Generation.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content including language and images, and for some drug material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 August 2010 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Uivo See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$51,185, 26 September 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$617,334, 6 February 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shot in 14 days around New York City in March/April 2009. See more »

Goofs

About 29 minutes in, Franco (as Ginsberg) lights up a cigarette. You can clearly see a layer of digital shading (meant to darken Franco's beard) that is overlaid onto his face, esp. his left jaw. This shading also goes over Franco's hand in this scene. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Allen Ginsberg: "Howl" for Carl Salomon. I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night...
[continues reading but unheard, credits roll]
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Soundtracks

Forever Hers
Written by Eddie Waltman
Coconut Bay Music (BMI)
Courtesy of Manhattan Production Music
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User Reviews

 
An Essential Film of Great Ideas
26 December 2010 | by mackjay2See all my reviews

This is a brilliant film. I have not seen a another film that successfully shows how someone creates a work of art, especially a literary work. This film does it brilliantly, largely by quotations from the poem read very effectively by James Franco, who plays Ginsberg. Acted out interviews illuminate many things and the trial itself is extremely involving to watch. Even the animated portions we see while we hear parts of the poem work well. It's a remarkable film about artistic creation and how the artist must be allowed to use his own words and to use language that expresses his meaning fully, not language that is inoffensive to some imaginary reader.

Franco, John Hamm, David Strathairn, Bob Balaban, Jeff Daniels are all at their best, and seem truly committed to the project.

You don't even have to be a fan of Ginsberg, or know much about who he was to enjoy this. I was really impressed, one of the best films of this year, but it will likely be ignored by many.


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